D'Angelo Hits The Road
St. Louis strawweight Kelly D'Angelo will be crossing state lines on Saturday in search of her second pro win.
D'Angelo, who is also a St. Louis County firefighter, will be fighting outside Missouri for the first time when she faces Samantha Diaz (0-1) on the main card of Hoosier Fight Club 32 at the Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City, Indiana.
Diaz made national headlines last November not so much for what she did in the cage, but what she did in order to make weight at Invicta FC 20. Weighing in for her pro debut, Diaz was at 116.2 pounds, two ounces over the limit for strawweight. She made the decision to cut off a good portion of her hair right then and there. The decision paid off as she weighed in at 115.9 but Diaz would go on and get submitted via rear naked choke in the first round by 19-year-old Miranda Maverick.
D'Angelo became aware of HFC and the Diaz fight opportunity through a former opponent who told her that the promotion was in search of a 115-pounder for this card.
"(Diaz) is pretty well-rounded from what I here," D'Angelo said. "I think her main thing is the ground. I think it's going to be pretty much like any opponent I have ever fought. I plan on controlling it. If the fight ends up somewhere that I don't want to be I'm just going to remember my last fight and that I can handle myself wherever it happens to go."
When the RFA 44 came to St. Louis last September, D'Angelo was one of the few locals who came away with a 'W'. D'Angelo submitted Xtreme Couture's Emily Whitemire at 3:46 in the second round with a guillotine to kick off the main card.
"I've always been known as the boxer and the boxer got the submission," D'Angelo said. "She got a couple of takedowns on me and I actually ended up getting her in a reverse triangle in one of the takedowns. I started to go for a submission and didn't get it. We rolled and she stood up and she went in for another takedown and I ended up getting in a guillotine and once I locked that in I wasn't letting go."
D'Angelo was a long-time pupil of Steve Berger, but once Berger closed his gym down, she segued to St. Charles MMA.
"(SCMMA) has morning classes and evening classes which help a lot being a firefighter because my schedule isn't very consistent," D'Angelo said. "I am doing a lot more gi here. As much as I wasn't a fan of it, in the beginning, I'm actually starting to really like it and I think it is going to help a lot with my grappling."
D'Angelo still remains under Elmir Kulosman of Kulosman Muay Thai. Kulosman has fought for Bellator and Shamrock FC and is a veteran of the local fight scene. SCMMA head coach Mike Rogers, D'Angelo's husband (and training partner) Jimmy, and Kulosman will all be in D'Angelo's corner this weekend.
Being a female fighter on the local scene is often tricky when it comes to finding sparring partners and even more so when you are on the lower end of the scale.
"Me and Julius (Anglickas, a SCMMA pro 205-er) were just talking about that actually," D'Angelo said. "He's the big guy who doesn't have anybody and I'm the little person who doesn't have anybody. Sometimes I get a little upset about it and I come home really frustrated because if they don't have technique, it feels like they have size. But I know once I get in the cage with someone my size it always feels way easier."
HFC 32 may be streamed live. D'Angelo will update news on the viewing status through her social media platforms.
To read more about D'Angelo, read this KJ feature story that ran prior to RFA 44.
Photo courtesy of Bob Barton Photography
River City Casino, St. Louis, MO